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Memphis VA Whistleblower Files Appeal Claim To Fight Third Attempt To Fire Him

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Published on: July 12, 2017

Memphis VA whistleblower Sean Higgins has filed an appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board to fight the VA’s third attempt to fire him.

Higgins, a long-time whistleblower who works at the Memphis VA Medical Center, filed the appeal Monday, disputing allegations that he was hostile and engaged in disruptive behavior, according to a document obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Included in the appeal package is a document sent to medical center director David K. Dunning from the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE), a labor union, which states Higgins officially denies all charges and believes the VA is retaliating against him.

“Mr. Higgins is treated differently by management and punished more harshly than other employees who have engaged in similar or the same conduct,” the letter from NAGE states. “Therefore, the charges should and cannot be sustained and should be withdrawn.”

The Memphis VA sent Higgins a letter of proposed removal on May 15 and officially fired him on June 22, the day before President Donald Trump signed into law whistleblower protection.

Dunning cited “disruptive behavior” and “profane language” in the June 22 letter.

Notably, the medical center moved to fire him in May, just 10 days after The Commercial Appeal wrote a long-form piece detailing Higgins’ long history of whistleblowing at the facility.

Most recently, Higgins disclosed that the Memphis VA medical center allowed senior interior designer Brittney Lowe to return to work after serving a 60-day sentence for driving under the influence, which was a case so egregious that Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin cited it as a key reason why accountability legislation is so desperately needed to speed up termination of bad employees.

The VA has tried to fire Higgins twice before. In 2008, he regained his job after arguing discrimination. After he was fired in 2014, the Merit Systems Protection Board reversed the VA’s decision. In the second case, like the current one, management alleged he was being hostile.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

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